Dealing with customers who are never satisfied - Cleaning Talk - Professional Cleaning and Restoration Forum
 
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post #1 of Old 04-15-2008, 01:50 PM Thread Starter
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Dealing with customers who are never satisfied

Good afternoon everyone!
I just wanted to get some feedback from all of you on a topic that bothers me more than any other; the customer that is never satisfied. I have a very thorough and detailed list of things that are done in both a basic standard cleaning and a more detailed full cleaning (usually a first time clean or spring cleaning). I make it very clear, in writing and verbally, what the regular cleaning entails and how much it will cost to "add on" extras. Most people are very compliant and I have a group of wonderful, loyal clients. However, there is always that one that seems to "want more", and not pay for it and does not seem to listen (or read for that matter) when I explain what is and is not included in the cleaning. I had a woman tell me last week that she "only wanted to pay for a basic clean". However, after the cleaning, she had a laundry list of things she "thought would have been done", despite the fact that she had my basic cleaning list in black and white. Do you have this problem and if so, how have you dealt with this in the past? Are some people just a pain in rear? I've been in business for over 3 years and luckily have had more good than bad, but some people! Perhaps I am just frustrated and needed to vent to people who know where I am coming from!
Thanks always. This site is a Godsend!

Regards,
Kendra Hennessy
Perfect Touch House and Office Cleaning, Upstate NY
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post #2 of Old 04-15-2008, 09:50 PM
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Kendra

We too hand out a large estimate package that explains in detail what we will do and what the extras cost.......

However - We have found that a detailed letter sent to each client after our walk through and estimate to reiterate our discussions and agreements have just about ended all of our problems with clients trying to add on items/ tasks when we start to clean. Too, the letters allow the client to correct any misunderstanding in communication if there were any prior to our starting work.

It is truly amazing how a customer will say "oh, you don't need to clean that bedroom every time" during the estimate yet they will add the room back in frequently over the course of the next couple of cleanings. However once you state in your letter that there will be additional charges of $ X.xx amount each time that room is added on will more than likely never EVER ask for the room to be done

I love the change in attitude when a customer who is trying to finagle a freebie gets caught when I produce my "paper trail" and show them that my memory is better than theirs


If after all this, we still have problems, my advice is - Let em' go!
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post #3 of Old 04-15-2008, 11:21 PM
 
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Hi kendra,

At Lakes Cleaning Services our pledge is to provide our customers with services tthat meet and exceed their expectations. We try to do a little extra so we can avoid this type of unsatisfied customers. Never the less there is always someone out there that just wants to push the limits, and it is at this time we just quit calling them customers and re name them "ex-customers'. At first we all need all the business we can get, but one thing we have learned is that when you make an effort to give a customer good quality services, the numbver of satisfied customers is always greater. There for why waste our honest and hard working time with people that do not care or have respect for our business and way of making an honest living. Stick to your guns!!

Hector Reyes
Lakes Cleaning Services

Last edited by Hector; 04-15-2008 at 11:24 PM.
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post #4 of Old 04-21-2008, 09:29 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks so much for your replies! I appreciate hearing from other cleaners and business owners to learn how everyone else deals with problems! Great suggestions, thanks again!
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post #5 of Old 04-27-2008, 10:09 AM
 
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I have been very lucky in that my clients rarely complain but I know that it's part of the business. Like Hector said, you call those constant complainers "ex-customers" (I like that!) Pick and choose who you give your services to, you are providing a service of great value. If you don't treat it that way, they won't either. I also like what others said about having things in writing. I love email and use that all the time to communicate with my clients. That way it's all in writing and any misunderstanding is quickly resolved with a reference to our earlier communication.
-Michelle
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post #6 of Old 04-27-2008, 06:41 PM Thread Starter
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I completely agree Michelle! I learned very early on in my business that if you let people take advantage, they will. Give some customers an inch and they'll take a yard unfortunately. I love what you said about treating it as a valuable business. I find that many people have a warped view of house cleaning/maid services and feel you should work for slave labor because after all, "it is just cleaning.". Well if you was just cleaning, I suppose you'd be doing it yourself, now wouldn't you. Email is an invaluable tool in making sure communication is solid, as is having everything in writing at the start.
Thanks for the feedback, as always!

Regards,
Kendra
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post #7 of Old 07-30-2008, 06:55 PM
 
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I would drop those kind of customers, no matter what you do, they still wont be satified. people like that go through cleaning services left and right. Cleaning comapnies are built with clients not customers
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post #8 of Old 09-08-2008, 09:44 PM
 
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Kendra, I look forward to an answer to this question. I am having the same problem and have decided if this client comes to me with one more add on, they can get someone else. I don't need the stress.
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post #9 of Old 09-26-2008, 03:16 PM
 
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I know how to spot those so called customers in the initial estimate so I don't even give them a chance.
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post #10 of Old 09-26-2008, 07:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greatestclean View Post
I went to my lawyer and he sent her a letter with proposition not to bother me and she stopped to do it
Can I ask what a "letter with proposition" is?
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post #11 of Old 10-20-2008, 01:58 PM
 
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I'd recommend three things:

1. Monthly service quality report (a detailed report of issues, resolutions, schedules, etc. pictures, always a nice touch)

2. Surveys. People love to complain. Let them. A survey gives you a nice standardized way to track your performance over time, with multiple customers. Even if you just have a few customers, a nice monthly survey can only help your business. SAVE THEM and see if you find any trends over time. Remember, some of your non-complaining customers might just not want to say it to your face.

3. Accountability. Get yourself some tools to make sure that ALL dialog with your customers is in writing. Keep all paperwork in one place, where your customer can see everything at any time. For more about this subject, drop me a line - I've learned a lot on this the hard way.

4. If that customer really isn't worth the trouble, recommend your most disliked competitor as a new provider. Let them deal with the headache. :-)

Cheers, and good luck.
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post #12 of Old 10-29-2008, 03:16 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wayandrs View Post
I'd recommend three things:

1. Monthly service quality report (a detailed report of issues, resolutions, schedules, etc. pictures, always a nice touch)

2. Surveys. People love to complain. Let them. A survey gives you a nice standardized way to track your performance over time, with multiple customers. Even if you just have a few customers, a nice monthly survey can only help your business. SAVE THEM and see if you find any trends over time. Remember, some of your non-complaining customers might just not want to say it to your face.

3. Accountability. Get yourself some tools to make sure that ALL dialog with your customers is in writing. Keep all paperwork in one place, where your customer can see everything at any time. For more about this subject, drop me a line - I've learned a lot on this the hard way.

4. If that customer really isn't worth the trouble, recommend your most disliked competitor as a new provider. Let them deal with the headache. :-)

Cheers, and good luck.
Your most disliked competitor
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post #13 of Old 10-29-2008, 05:37 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Melissa View Post
Your most disliked competitor

I guess that really made it four things, then.
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post #14 of Old 10-31-2008, 06:32 AM
 
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I'm guilty of that!
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post #15 of Old 11-06-2008, 05:08 PM
 
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[FONT='Times New Roman','serif'][FONT='Verdana','sans-serif']I have been servicing one of my commercial restaurant accounts on an average of 18 additional man hours per month that are not being charged to the customer. I have brought this to the customers attention a month ago and am still waiting to hear a rebuttal from her. The job was quoted for 3.5 man hours, and takes around 4 with all the little knick knacks the customer wants done on a daily basis, not to mention our contract states that we are to take care of high dusting twice a month, The customer requests additional dusting to be done every week, resulting in 2 additional man hours. They just had their quarterly audit and failed, Partially due to the cleanliness but a lot to do with dating procedures in the kitchen (nothing to do with me) I have since received a e-mail that was very black and white, the customer came right out and said "[/FONT] I need to go over some of the results with you and see whether you are able to [FONT='Times New Roman','serif']support the cleaning that is necessary in this restaurant.” The outlining concerns were a dried spit ball on the ceiling, a black mark the size of your finger nail on one of the bathroom stall doors, and a heavy build of dust around the air duct vents. I have corrected all of these immediately. I am going to be having a meeting on Saturday morning, and would like some feedback on what my approach should be. I believe I am over servicing the account, and paying additional time out of my “profit” to fulfill this contract, and she is still not satisfied.[/FONT][/FONT]
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post #16 of Old 07-31-2020, 04:01 AM
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